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The Atari Jaguar was Atari's last major console to hit the market and released in 1993. It was marketed as the first 64 bit console.

A CD add-on was released in 1995.

Why it Flopped

  1. The Jaguar is actually a 32-bit console but it used multiple processors to technically make it 64-bit (which is like saying a modern 64 bit quad-core CPU is actually 256 bit). Due to the unusual and complex design of the system's hardware and processors it was very difficult to develop games for. As a result most of the games couldn't properly take advantage of the Jaguar's capabilities. While it included a Motorola 68000 (previously used by the Mega Drive and Amiga) as a secondary CPU, more often than not this was used as the main CPU to make development easier, even though it effectively made the Jaguar a 16-bit console.
  2. Due to the overly complicated architecture, most of Jaguar games didn't really show much improvement graphically compared to the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis despite being advertised as a more powerful console, causing gamers at the time to quickly lose interest in the system and doubt its claims of being 64-bit.
  3. Only 67 games were commercially released in the Jaguar's lifespan.
  4. The packed-in game Cybermorph wasn't particularly impressive.
  5. Atari's financial problems and declining reputation kept third party developers away.
  6. There weren't many good and exclusive games that would make gamers want to buy the console.
  7. The controller is bulky and features a phone keypad, it's considered very difficult to master, though some games came with overlays which reduce the confusion.
  8. The system did not have a dust tray to protect the cartridge slot from dust.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It does have some good games, such as Rayman, Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator.
  2. Its port of Doom comes the closest of all console ports to the PC original (although it lacks music).
  3. The source code is available for homebrewers. Some of those homebrews have shown the Jaguar had plenty of potential.
  4. Since there are only 67 games it shouldn't be too difficult to collect the entire library.
  5. Without the Jaguar, we would have never seen the Rayman series. The original Rayman was released on the Jaguar before the PlayStation version.
  6. Despite it being too bulky, the controller is comfortable to hold.

Reception

Though it is a commercial failure that ended Atari's home console market, it developed a small fanbase. The Jaguar was the last console Atari would produce for more than 20 years due it flopping when the company had terrible financial problems. It wouldn't be until Atari announced the Atari Box that the company would produce a new console.

Trivia

  • Many units were turned into dentist equipment and its design was used for the infamous Retro Chameleon.
  • If you plug in the CD add-on, the console looks like a toilet.

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